Echelle spectrometer and Berkeley spectrometer are switched off!
Telescope door is closed!
ORFEUS-SPAS will be retrieved by Columbia in 8 hours.
Dec. 2 1996 , 11:00 pm EST :
NASA decided to give another day in space for science!
The echelle spectrometer is currently in a 26 hour observation block for which 55 targets are scheduled. This shift will be completed in 5 hours.
The originally planned 15 hour shift was extended by 11 hours after NASA had decided to extend the STS-80 mission by one day.
Tomorrow afternoon all intruments will be shut down and Columbia will prepare for the rendevous with ORFEUS-SPAS.
Dec. 1 1996 , 10:00 pm EST :
The echelle spectrometer has completed this morning a 9 hour observation shift. 15 targets were observed. All instruments continue to perform nominal.
In 3 hours a 15 hour observation shift will start for the echelle spectrometer. 33 targets are scheduled for this shift.
The nominal science mission was extended by one orbit. NASA will decide tomorrow morning about an additional day in space.
New NASA-TV images show Dr. Gernot Hartmann, head of the section "extraterrestrics" of the german space agency DARA during an interview with NASA-TV. The interview was taken inside the SPAS Payload Operations Center (SPOC) at KSC.
Nov. 30 1996 , 10:30 pm EST :
This morning a short two orbit observation block of the echelle spectrometer with 6 targets was completed. The echelle spectrometer, as all other instruments, continues performing very well.
NASA will decide upon an extra day on monday. The decision will mainly depend on how the weather will be for landing a day later.
Due to the locked airlock door the spacewalk of two astronauts was cancelled.
Nov. 29 1996 , 9:30 pm EST :
Half an hour ago observations of 15 german PI targets with the Berkeley spectrometer have started. After this an echelle observation block with 6 targets will follow tomorrow morning.
All instruments continue performing very well.
The timeline for the next days may change, depending on when the planned extravehicular activities of the astronauts will start. Currently NASA is still trying to solve the problem with the locked airlock door.
New NASA-TV images show a live interview with Dr. Wolfgang Hopfensitz from IAA Tübingen and Prof. Dr. Immo Appenzeller from LSW Heidelberg.
Nov. 28 1996 , 10:30 pm EST :
The echelle spectrometer is currently in an 8 hour observation block.
All measurements go on smoothly and extremely well.
13 targets are scheduled in the ongoing observation block.
Nov. 27 1996 , 11:00 pm EST :
The echelle spectrometer is currently in a 7 hour observation block.
Aligment problems are solved and all measurements go on very well.
14 targets are scheduled in this block.
There are new images from NASA-TV available, showing Dr. Gerhard Kraemer of IAA Tübingen reporting about one of the echelle spectra.
Nov. 26 1996 , 11:00 pm EST :
Due to some alignment problems, the echelle spectrometer lost some targets during the 5 hour observing block today. 3 targets could be observed.
Tomorrow a 8 hour observing block is planned for the echelle spectrometer.
The echelle spectrometer lost this morning several hours of its observation block due to the "low drag mode" of the ORFEUS-SPAS. Finally 8 targets were observed at the end of the scheduled observation block.
After looking at the data we found, that there was obviously a misalignment between star tracker and telescope, most likely produced by abnormal temperature conditions during the low drag mode. Spectra were obtained, but it is not clear, how much of the light was lost.
The Wake Shield Facility was recently captured by the robot arm of the space shuttle and is back in the cargo bay.
The echelle spectrometer is scheduled tomorrow with a five hour observation block.
Nov. 24 1996 , 10:00 pm EST :
As the free flying Wake Shield Facility is still approaching ORFEUS-SPAS, ORFEUS lost many hours of science operation today.
Currently ORFEUS is again in a "low drag mode" for at least 3 hours.
Further examinations of the echelle measurements indicate, that the the reduction of sensitivity, as compared to the expected values, is probably less than the factor of 2, which was estimated after examining the first echelle measurements.
Nov. 23 1996 , 11:00 pm EST :
The echelle spectrometer has completed a 20 hour observation block during which 30 observations on 25 targets were made.
The Wake Shield Facility was released yesterday and is now moving away from Columbia towards ORFEUS-SPAS. The speed of approach towards ORFEUS-SPAS is too high, so ORFEUS-SPAS has currently to go into a position that will allow ORFEUS-SPAS to increase the distance to the Wake Shield Facility. For this reason no science observations are possible for the next hours.
Some new captured images from NASA-TV are available, showing Prof. Dr. Immo Appenzeller from the Landessternwarte Heidelberg (LSW) in a NASA mission briefing showing the echelle spectra of a White Dwarf and of a Symbiotic Star.
Nov. 22 1996 , 11:00 pm EST :
ORFEUS has started normal science observations and all instruments continue performing well.
Currently the echelle spectrometer is in a very long 20 hour observation block. Most of this time there is no telemetry contact due to the release of the Wake Shield Facility, which was deployed about 1 hour ago.
The echelle spectrometer is operating in an autonomous mode. Quicklook data will be dumped to ground station after telemetry contact is up again.
Nov. 21 1996 , 10:00 pm EST :
Aligment procedures were sucessfully completed early today.
All instruments perform well.
A first 4 hour observation block with the echelle spectrometer was used for checkout of the instrument.
First estimates of the resolution of the echelle spectrograph indicate a spectral resolution of better than 9400.
A first estimate of the echelle sensitivity shows, that the sensitivity of the echelle spectrograph is about a factor of 2 less than expected. This deviation is not very surprising, as the expected sensitivity was calculated from single measurements of the five optical elements involved.
Nov. 20 1996 , 8:00 pm EST :
Echelle detector was switched on and shows good performance.
Alignment between ORFEUS telescope and star tracker is still going on.
Alignment between IMPAS and star tracker has been done and will be finally confirmed with the upcoming IMAPS observation.
Nov. 20 1996 , 1:00 am EST (Eastern Standard Time, local time in Florida):
ORFEUS II is in space!
Launch time was Nov. 19, 2:55:47 pm.
ASTRO-SPAS was released about one hour later than planned.
Echelle electronics shows perfect performance. Detector will be switched on later this day.
There are captured images from NASA-TV available, which show the checkout and unberth of the ASTRO-SPAS, including opening of the telescope door. TV sequences of the release of ASTRO-SPAS were not available.
Nov. 18 1996 :
Countdown Clock is active again!
Launch time is Nov. 19, 2:53 pm. Local time in germany will be 20:53.
Nov. 13 1996 :
New Launch date: Nov. 19!
Due to bad weather, the Atlas rocket could not be launched, resulting in a delay of the shuttle start.
Nov. 12 1996 :
Countdown has started!
Nov. 11 1996 :
Launch date confirmed: Nov. 15, 2:50 pm
Local time in germany will be 20:50. The launch may be seen live in germany probably in the following TV channels: "CNN international" and the german news channel "n-tv".
Nov. 4 1996 :
New Launch Date: Nov. 15 or Nov. 16
Oct. 29 1996 :
STS-80 Launch Date to Be Set After Nov. 4 Review:
On Oct. 28, NASA managers held a Flight Readiness Review for the STS-80 mission and decided to wait until a subsequent Nov. 4 review to set a launch date for the mission. The launch team is awaiting further analysis of greater-than-normal erosion in the insulation of one of STS-79's solid rocket motor nozzles. Depending on the outcome of the analysis, STS-80 could launch as early as Nov. 8.
Oct. 22 1996 :
The mission payloads (ORFEUS-SPAS and WSF-3) have been installed into the payload bay of the shuttle!
Oct. 17 1996 :
Space Shuttle Columbia arrived yesterday at the launch pad. The payloads (ORFEUS-SPAS and WSF-3) was moved to the launch pad already on Friday, Oct. 11.
from DARA: The German Bavarian Television supports DARA in performing the school project and will show a movie about ORFEUS-SPAS and the science goals in its Spacenight. The movie is shown every night from Wednesday to Thursday in Bavarian TV (BR3) starting September 19, 1:55 MET. Start your tape recorder! More dates: 26.9. 2:15 am; 3.10. 3:40 am; 10.10. 2:25 am; 17.10. 2:30 am; 24.10. 2:20 am; 31.10. 1:50 am. The documentation will explain how modern astronomy will observe the lifecycle of stars: how they are born, how they live and die - and that there will be a life after death.
BR3 will distribute the manuscript of the documentation for preparation of school lessons (in German).
More astronomy related information is linked on the Server of BR3.
DARA will try to setup a test for the schoolproject during the mission simulation October 16 and 17. A second test is scheduled for October 21.
Aug. 30 1996 :
Mission simulation was successfully carried out from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30 by all participating science groups (image). This was the last time before launch that the echelle electronics was active. The echelle detector was pumped and filled back with argon (image).
Jul. 30 1996 :
ORFEUS-SPAS is in the MPPF building (Multi-Payload Processing Facility) at Kennedy Space Center. ORFEUS is mounted in the ASTRO-SPAS. Interface verification tests were completed successfully, including tests for the echelle detector and the echelle electronics box.